Japanese tragedy in three acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
In 1853, the US battle fleet forced Japan to open its ports and enter into business with America. „The vigorous pressing of America’s handshake given kindly, but offered with zeal and capable of both striking and embracing at the same time – rocked the isolation of the Japanese and made them sensitive for their relationship towards the rest of the world“, according to the recollection of Captain M. C. Perry, then commander of the fleet. Puccini himself never visited Japan, but with his „Japanese tragedy“ about the geisha Cio-Cio-San and her love for American Naval officer Pinkerton, he created an affecting testimony for any form of one-sided cultural transfer. By choosing the “American way of life” Cio-Cio-San accepts a cut-off from her past and her cultural traditions, but is left behind, pregnant and full of hope for the future which is finally cruelly dashed.
Intermission approx. 1 h after the beginning
1904 in Brescia
This production's premiere
from grade 8